The question “How do we grow sales quickly?” is asked in every business on a weekly basis. The easy answer for us is that you would not have to ask that question if your sales function was doing three simple activities on a regular basis.
Asking for additional business from existing clients
When was the last time you met with your top clients to review the current business you were doing with them, showed them what else you could do for them better than others, and asked what they were planning that you might be able to help them with?
Asking for referrals from existing clients
Your clients have stayed with you for a reason. When was the last time you asked them who they knew in the industry that you could help as well and who else they do business with where you might be a fit?
Asking for new business from other “ideal” future clients
Can you identify your best clients and why you have been able to be a partner with them? Take your success and replicate it by producing a marketing piece about why people do business with you and send it to other “ideal” prospects with a call to action about engaging you.
These simple activities are often overlooked because businesses get caught up in their business and do not focus on them. Make these activities part of your regular sales meetings and their will be no need to have conversations about how you can grow sales quickly.
Salespeople are expensive to organizations and are expected to have a return on investment anywhere from 3 to 10 times their value depending on sales margins. However, most salespeople only sell 60% of the time because they are involved with too many non-selling activities. This in not necessarily their fault and the problem can be corrected by integrating the non-selling activities into the internal job positions they already have.
Activities without providing proper resources:
- Supporting customers
- Providing quotes and RFP requests
- Collecting payments
- Developing marketing materials
- Coordinating internal resources
Activities with the proper resources in place:
- Networking with strategic partners
- Collaborating with current clients on additional opportunities and referrals
- Meeting with more qualified prospects
- Closing more ideal clients
- Making more money for the company and themselves
Don’t let your revenue generating positions do non revenue generating activities. Any organization can increase their opportunities in the market if they have the right people in the right positions doing the right activities.
The word “Consulting” has become just as eyeball rolling to business leaders as the word “sales” and the joke is that if you are not part of the solution, there is money in perpetuating the problem. Not having the right expertise to work within your organization to make the necessary changes properly has the same effect as not being able to complete a project before you start another one. It is the same problem that new employees experience after 18 month of employment…..They get caught up in the minutia of everyday business and eventually become part of the problem.
Companies have downsized their management and senior knowledge holders, lost their internal expertise, and the employees that have survived are so multitasked that nothing is able to be improved because no single individual is able to focus long enough on the task at hand.
A good “consultant” is able to work with their client to help identify a problem, develop and plan to fix the problem, use internal resources efficiently to integrate the necessary changes, and then leaves the client with a sustainable solution.
A mentor recently reminded me that the word “sales” is not always perceived well when used in a conversation. It is unfortunate but true because some “sales people” have ruined the reputation of all of us through non-standard practices that are remembered and shared with others. Even those companies and employees that I coach have trouble being called “sales people” even though what they do does have an impact on company revenues. Maybe that is why most businesses do not even print the word “sales” on business cards.
The primary duties of anyone in the business development field is to create opportunties for their company by finding a need in the marketplace and filling that need the products or services that their company offers. How do you do that without being “sales’ like? I would offer that the activities that you do have an impact on how you are perceived and that some of the best sales people I have know have never been described to me as “sales people”.
What do these people do differently that leads to increased opportunities for their companies?
- Perform strategic business reviews with current clients that helps them understand how you have added value to their business and what other services you offer
- Conduct lunch-n-learn sessions for account managers in other companies that can refer you to opportunities in their client base.
- Schedule breakfast and lunch meetings with centers of influence that are secondary stakeholders in targeted companies you want to work with.
- Focus your free time and champion a non-profit by volunteering your services to help with their fund development.
- Ask current clients for referrals.
- Introduce your clients to prospects, strategic partners, and other service providers that help them grow and improve their business.
- Make sure all of your family and friends know what you do.
Working any of these tactics into your activity calendar will help you increase your opportunities without the traditional sales tactics that are taught in videos and highlighted in the movies.
Salespeople spend most of their time on non-revenue producing activities. Really?
A recent study found that salespeople spend more than 70% of their time doing things other than selling. Our research found that salespeople spend, at most, 30% of their time in face-to-face selling. The rest of the time is spent handling administrative tasks, making collections calls, resolving logistics issues, attending meetings, and filling out reports.
How can we call these folks “salespeople” anymore when less than half of their time is spent selling? Maybe we should call them “support account administrators who occasionally sell.” Who is at fault–salespeople or management? Finger pointing does not really accomplish much other than scapegoating the blame.
It confounds me when salespeople tell me that they cannot make more face-to-face calls. Why not? Do buyers perceive little value in the meeting? Do managers require salespeople to yield to administrative distractions? Is traffic that bad?
I grew up in a sales culture where we were required to make eight face-to-face sales calls per day. If we were in the office between 8 AM and 5 PM, our bosses assumed we were goofing off, and we probably were. Sales managers scrutinized our phone credit card statements to make sure we did not spend the day doing phone work versus face-to-face selling. We did paperwork at night or on Saturday morning. If it sounds a bit Draconian, it was not. We were salespeople after all, not office people. I learned a work ethic that helped me start and run a successful business, and I am eternally grateful for the lesson. Maybe it is time for some old-school selling rules again.
What you do today has an affect on your future income. Whether you’re a sales manager developing a plan for your salespeople or a salesperson developing your own sales plan, you need to develop a daily and weekly plan that is based on pre-determined activities levels reverse engineered from your goal in order to be successful. It is the only way to stay focused on growth and stay self-motivated to actively pursue success, rather than waiting for it to come your way.
How do you develop the plan?
1. Set your annual sales goal that is needed for you to make your targeted income level.
How much do you want to make this year? How much revenue do you need to close in order to justify your salary and company overhead expenses associated with your position? If you don’t know your goal, how do you know what success looks like?
2. Define your ideal client and what their average value is to you.
Do not take every piece of business you find. What type of clients do you want? What is their average worth to the organization? If you do not have business intelligence to use, your need to determine an average worth of your client base to set a baseline for the next steps.
3. Divide the sales goal by the average client value to determine how many clients you need.
If your goal is to make $100,000 this year and the average client is worth $5000 to your organization and you make 10% commission, you need to find 200 clients…..Pretty simple! Know how much business you need to close in order to meet the goal.
4. Know your closing ratio.
If your closing ration is 50% and you know you need 200 clients, then you need to propose to 400 targets to meet your goal. Again, pretty simple!
5. Know how many targets you need make proposals for.
You can’t do business with everyone. If you do, I guarantee that you will lose money. 20% of the typical customer base in any company costs more money to the company than they bring in revenue. If you make sure you are talking to “qualified” targets based on your ideal client profile, you will know how many qualified targets you need to propose to.
6. Know how many prospects you need to qualify as targets.
How many prospects do you talk to or meet with that do NOT meet your ideal client profile? At first, the prospects may seem like they can do business with you but when you are done talking or meeting with them, it is not a good fit for the organization. It’s not your fault! They looked like a target and do NOT feel remorse by disqualifying them to stay focused on better targets.
7. Know how many leads you need in the top of the funnel to qualify as prospects.
The phone book is not a lead list! Although you may think everything with an address is a prospect, you need to be smart about where you spend your time and energy to develop business. Much like the conversion of prospects to targets, the smarter you are about the leads that you generate, the more successful you will be at moving leads to clients.
8. Develop your “lead-o-sphere” to fill your funnel.
Much like the universe started in chaos and eventually developed into form, you need to form leads from the chaos in the market place. What are your lead sources? Who have you partnered with to be a complimentary provider? What networking groups have you joined to increase your contact base? What service organizations do you belong to? What boards are you on? What social events do you attend? Where do you go hang out? Who is in your LinkedIn network? Who are your centers of influence? Who do you need to meet to put you in a position to talk to your next lead?
You can download the “Get There” Calculator on the Technik Resources page to help you determine what your funnel volume and funnel velocity needs to be to guarantee your success.
|No matter what you offer for a product or service, customer buying habits have changed and organizations are becoming increasingly frustrated by a lack of market understanding, conflicting strategies between marketing and sales departments, and a lack of understanding about buying decisions. These frustrations are leading to unfocused selling efforts and wasting precious marketing dollars.To combat this, organizations must align their sales & marketing process to answer key questions in each stage of the prospect’s buying process in order to convert market opportunities into sales. Here are some pointers about what you need to accomplish when the prospects are asking the following quest Why do I need to solve this problem?
The customer is looking to learn so you should teach them in the way that they want to learn. Connect your teaching to something they’re passionate about but remember to be polite and keep it relevan
Why do I need you to solve this problem?
The customer needs to make a decision so you need to become a trusted advisor by creating relevance, building credibility, demonstrating value, and being honest about limitations
Why should I buy from you now?
The customer is looking to commit so you need to motivate them by providing a reason and making their decision easy by eliminating risk.
How do I get the most out of my purchase?
The customer is looking for confirmation so you need to continually add value, fix all problems as they arise, and inspire them to demonstrate why they made a good decision.
By aligning your sales process to your prospects buying process, you will shorten the sales cycle and utilize your marketing dollars more effectively because your efforts will be focused.